Affordable food is hard to come by in the outskirts of Santiago, Chile. There are few supermarkets and the produce at small stores can often be up to 40% more expensive than in larger outlets. To address this issue, we at Algramo, buy essential products such as rice, beans, lentils and sugar in bulk from suppliers and distribute them directly to small convenience stores, through our unique mechanical dispensers. This results in a considerably cheaper product for consumers. We don’t just fill the machines though; we also install them for free and split the profits evenly with the shopkeepers. At present, we offer our products in over 300 stores around Santiago and will soon be expanding to Colombia.
Much of the population in Latin America live on less than $4.00 USD per day. This means many low-income families are unable to buy staple foods in any great volume. This results in them having to buy small amounts, while paying much more than they would for larger quantities. By allowing people to buy in bulk and eliminating the cost of distribution and packaging, our vending machines help to reduce the cost of household purchases by up to 40% for more than 36,000 people per month. These savings not only allow families to buy products that they couldn’t afford before, but offer better education to their children and provide access to proper health care. Our dispensers help shopkeepers to compete with big retail corporations in a smart and efficient way, and by using reusable packaging our impact on the environment is reduced.
OUR VENTURE EXPERIENCE
When we applied to The Venture, we were looking for the opportunity to showcase what Algramo is in order to help it grow faster. And that’s certainly what we got! Now more people know what are we doing and it's assisting us in reaching more families. The competition helped us start a revolution against the “poverty tax”. Also, it was amazing to find out about all the different solutions to totally different problems around the world, and how everyone is fighting against such huge challenges. Also, the collaborative ethos of entrepreneurs when looking for social solutions was inspiring.
We are looking to break even in Chile and scale in Colombia. Next year we are going to start our first prototype in Mexico and possibly in Peru. With Alcom, the internet part of Algramo, we are looking to have more than 1,500 families connected in order to break even. Now we are represented in more than 500 stores, impacting 70,000 people, resulting in the reduction of more than 10 tonnes of waste per month. This is also helping shopkeepers compete with big supermarkets.